Imbolc

The first 2012 seeds arrived on Thursday last week. They were pricey, but so worth it. Those little nuggets of promise were locally grown which, among other attributes, made them irresistible. I love that my purchase, in some small way, connects me with and helps preserve the Hobbs Family Farm in Avondale, Colorado. Knowing that these seeds were grown in soil and conditions similar to those here, on the flat corner lot, gives me an exciting expectation of success.

Provider Beans

The packets, holding four kinds of beans and Hopi Orange Squash, went from brown envelope to shoe box in a chilly closet where they continue to dream, as do I, of warming soil and fulfilled potential.

I chose heirloom and traditional varieties, yes, for the greater good, as a way to keep real foods alive and adapting to our changing world. I also chose them so that I might touch the history of this place and better feel my own roots mingle with those of the people who were nourished here for many centuries. I, too, will participate, tasting what they tasted, blessing what they blessed, saving seeds for whomever comes next.

This reaching down and backward gives me strength, fuels my sense of wonder and belonging, keeps me moving forward.

When I came across traditional celebrations based on the ancient lunar calendar of Ireland, it was like striking a tuning fork, shifting my perspective on the seasons and how to relate to them. We all know about solstices and equinoxes, and most of us grew up with those events marking the beginning of their respective seasons. We also grew up celebrating May Day and Hallowe’en, but with little understanding why.

The Old Ones from stephanhoglundphotography.com

From the very old days, however, each season begins on a day that rises between an equinox and a solstice. Think of it: Summer beginning on May Day, Autumn on the first of August, and Winter on the day after Halloween. That puts us, now, at the first day of Spring.

Although winter weather isn’t over, days are stretching and light and warmth returning. It’s truly a time to celebrate and look for the earliest signs of new life. Gardeners do this instinctively. Even when the garden is buried in snow or hunkered under heaps of leaves, trees and birds send signals. In the gardenhood, house finches practice their reckless mating trills, chickadees twee-dee, and the willows along Shooks Run blaze a brighter gold.

This year, when Punxutawney Phil pokes out his prognosticating head, dance a jig. It’s spring. No matter what his peepers see, the circling earth on her tipped axis, gives us every reason to expect a positive outcome, and that is the very definition of hope.

This is the first anniversary of Gardenhood. Thanks, so much, for coming along on the journey.

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2 thoughts on “Imbolc

  1. Does saving seeds from a marigold, that in last season grew taller than advertised, count toward those heritage types?

    Here in western Iowa so far, we’ve had an unusally mild winter. I keep telling people we’ve “earned” it after at least four tough winters. I did notice that the buds on my neighbor’s lilacs are getting big. Hopefully they survive any down turn in temperatures.

    • Well, they’re certainly seeds worth saving, but unless they’re an open-pollinated variety that’s been around for a good long while, I don’t think they’d be defined as heritage.

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